Church helps families keep child care costs down

A Watertown church hopes to help families offset the high cost of child care.
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 6:31 AM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - More than half of the families in the U.S. spend $10,000 or more on child care each year, according to

It’s a cost that Watertown’s First United Methodist Church is hoping to reduce through its A Little Child Will Lead Us child care program.

“Parents with young children, 10 and under, we provide free child care,” Pastor Anne Canfield said.

“We’ll find them dinner, give them tutoring,” said caregiver Christina White.

For White, being a caregiver at the program means just a bit more. She says she and her son, Jack, have witnessed the benefits of the program firsthand.

“He has autism, so he doesn’t always get along very well with people, or he doesn’t understand things,” White said. “So, when we found this place, it was really important because he didn’t have any friends. He’s found friends here and it’s been like night and day.

White isn’t the only member of the community who has taken time from their schedule to help give back.

“I love being an honorary grandma because I can take every single one of these kids home with me if I could,” Linda Fredenburg said.

Fredenburg and Sharon Bleehaus both volunteered their time Wednesday afternoon as “adopted grandmas,” helping the children learn about planting flowers.

“It’s quite an opportunity to allow children who grew up in a city to get their fingers in the dirt and plant plants,” Bleehaus said, “something that they wouldn’t be able to do in an apartment setting”

They say much like the flowers that the kids planted Wednesday, the A Little Child Will Lead Us program helps the children blossom and grow.

“Children learn the golden rule and how to live as neighbors who love themselves and love their neighbor,” Canfield, the pastor, said.

“That is a life lesson that I think will go with them for many, many years,” Fredenburg said. “They will take that into their adulthood.”

Canfield says that all are welcome at the program, and they are trying to provide a family-based community for those who may not have a grandma at home themselves.

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